Delicious Food Al Fresco at Ristorante L’Accademia
For 27 years, Ristorante Accademia has been an anchor on Piazza San Marco, providing warm hospitality and delicious food to Florentines and visitors. With the onset of the Covid pandemic which led to restaurant closures, the owner, Gianni Icovetti, had to adapt so his restaurant would remain successful. During these difficult times, the staff at Ristorante Accademia has consistently provided delicious food and exceptional service with the options of patio dining, take-out and delivery.
To add variety and spice to offerings, Gianni and his staff developed an innovative “international” weekly menu. These rotating specials offer a change from the traditional, with the same fine quality. A mid-week dinner of chili con carne with a touch of cilantro served all the side fixings will transport you to the Southwest and definitely add a spark to your dining experience. Try the batter-fried fish and chips and think about your next trip to London. Or, relax with a plate of pork ribs, chicken wings and blue cheese for dipping. The portions are generous and, as always, a good value.
In addition to the specials, the restaurant’s full menu of classic Italian dishes are available for take-away or delivery at both lunch and dinner. Start with bruschetta or aged cheese. Or, for something more indulgent, try the mixed appetizer which is a carefully selected array of meats, cheeses and pate. The mushroom strudel in a light parmesan sauce is divine. Add a salad for a refreshing taste. My choice is always the Michelangelo salad, which combines lettuce, arugula, pecorino, thinly sliced pears and a drizzle of honey. It looks and tastes like a work of art!
As you might expect, the pasta served here is “house made” and is favored by many customers. The variety offers something for everyone. The lasagna rolls are crispy on the edges and served on a bed of creamy melted buffalo mozzarella. The whole wheat pasta with lamb ragù is perfect for a meat lover. There are many vegetarian options including spaghetti chitarra, cavatelli with pumpkin blossoms, gnocchi, and ravioli. Be sure to save a piece of the house made bread to “fare la scarpetta” so you don’t miss a drop of the pasta toppings.
The main courses at Ristorante Accademia are hearty fare. Each dish is carefully prepared with local ingredients. The Tuscan beef stew is true “comfort food”. For another specialty of Tuscany, the Cinta Senese pork chops with herbs and apple mustard are flavorful and satisfying. If you are curious about the Italian-American classic of chicken parmigiana, this is the best you will find on either side of the Atlantic. The chef also prepares fine cuts of meat that are grilled to perfection. There are several varieties of steak, as well as an irresistible hamburger, grilled chicken or fresh fish.
Along with all of the above, Ristorante Accademia serves a perfect pizza, which is my favorite in the entire city. The crust is magically light and chewy, because the pizzaiolo has nurtured his starter for eight years! The pizza with mushrooms and the vegetarian pizza are my preferred choices. There are plenty of options either with or without tomato sauce, and with or without meat. Call ahead and inquire about any specials.
Speaking of specials, the Ristorante Accademia is known for the special meals they create for the holidays. In non-Covid times, reservations for their Thanksgiving dinner fill quickly. Last year, the entire meal of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, corn bread and dessert was available for pick-up or delivery, and many customers, including me, were thankful that Gianni continued this tradition. If there is a holiday, you can be sure that the chefs here will prepare a fine meal to help you stay out of the kitchen and spend more time with your family.
Whatever your choice of meal from Ristorante Accademia, be sure to include one of their thoughtfully selected Italian wines, many from the Tuscan region. On the wine list are bottles of sparkling, white and red wines. If you’re not sure, ask Gianni for advice! End your meal with a homemade dessert such as tiramisu, panna cotta, biscotti, sfogliatelle, gelato or cheesecake. When you are finished eating, you will truly understand how Ristorante Accademia has remained as a trusted and popular choice for 27 years. And starting on June 1, we will be able to walk in the door of the restaurant and fully enjoy the hospitality at this wonderful location. Until then patio dining offers a true Italian experience.
To be informed of weekly specials, download the app for Ristorante Accademia (piazza San Marco 7/r) on the Apple store or Google Play. Also, you can follow the restaurant on Instagram or Facebook. (pat thomas)